The Chairman of the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB), Susan Tsui Grundmann has announced her resignation effective January 7, 2017. Grundmann, appointed by President Barack Obama and confirmed by the Senate in 2009, had a term that expired on March 1, 2016. However, she has been serving in a holdover capacity pursuant to 5 U.S.C. § 1202. Her current contract had an expiration date of March 1, 2017. She gave no explanation for the reason of resignation.
In addition, the Vice Chairman position has been vacant since March 2015, leaving only one member, Mark Robbins. He assumed the role in 2012 and is now serving in an administrative and executive role for the MSPB.
So how does this affect federal workers?
Due to the existing vacancy and Grundmanns’ sudden resignation, there is a loss of Board quorum. Quorum is the minimum number of members of an assembly or society that must be present at any of its meetings to make the proceedings of that meeting valid.
Petitions are still being accepted and the filing deadlines remain the same; however, the Board won’t be taking any action for the foreseeable future until President-elect Donald Trump nominates someone new. This also means that the Board can’t issue final rulings on appeals, issue study reports, or perform other normal functions. Which means the already long wait times on cases just got longer.
Board administrative judges will still hear appeals and issue initial decisions. If neither party files a petition for review of the initial decision, the appellant may exercise their right and appeal directly to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, another U.S. court of appeals, or the U.S. District Court. Deadlines remain the same.
Essentially, until one new member receives a nomination and confirmation, the MSPB Board can’t operate normally.